Sri Lankan filmmaker wins award for documentary on disappeared Jesuit priest

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Kannan Arunasalam, Sri Lankan journalist and filmmaker, has been awarded the first annual prize for best documentary ‘short-short’ film by the Manuel Rivera-Ortiz Foundation for Documentary Photography & Film. Selected by the executive board of the foundation, Arunasalam will receive a US$5,000 prize.

The film is called The Story of One, and documents the lives of an American Jesuit priest and a boy in the East and their disappearance 22 years ago during the height of the war between Sri Lankan security forces and Tamil Tiger terrorists.

Foundation Founder and President Manuel Rivera-Ortiz said, “Rooted in reportage and traditional documentary filmmaking, Kannan’s film doesn’t try to tone down these atrocities. Instead, he treats the viewer to the very voices of those that had been there and lost loved ones, Kannan bears witness on our behalf reminding us yet again of the power of not only the moving voice, but of the moving picture. His work exemplifies the core mission of our foundation.”

Kannan is a Sri Lankan born and based, filmmaker, photographer and journalist. He is also a media and human rights lawyer and a regular contributor to Radio Netherlands Worldwide.

Established in 2010, The Manuel Rivera-Ortiz Foundation for Documentary Photography & Film is a Not-for-Profit Organization headquartered in New York, committed to positive social discourse in underrepresented communities throughout the world by encouraging emerging photographers working in developing nations to keep their lenses fixed on the plight of the poor and disenfranchised.

The foundation also opened the 2014 call for entries.

To watch the trailer of the documentary click here.